ILTA Fulfills Priority with Last Minute Passage of WRDA Bill
A piece of legislation critical to the liquid terminal industry was tucked into the omnibus spending and coronavirus relief bill signed into law December 27 by President Trump. While the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 will not get the attention of some of the other measures in the relief bill, its passage is extremely important to the terminal industry because WRDA funds the maintenance, construction and improvement of our nation’s harbors, inland waterways and ports. Water infrastructure is critical to facilitate the trade we require to help our economy recover and position the nation for long-term growth.
Many terminals are connected to waterways, and they rely on maritime infrastructure to ensure that products can flow in and out. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S.1811, a compromise WRDA bill, on December 8. The Senate rolled it into the broader spending and relief bill and passed it December 21.
“During this period of increased partisanship in Washington, we were particularly pleased to see lawmakers work together to fund the maintenance, construction and improvement of our nation’s harbors, inland waterways and ports,” ILTA President Kathryn Clay said in a press release issued December 22.
WRDA unlocks the Harbor Maintenance Trust (port dredging) authority to some $2 billion in additional funds annual for harbor maintenance needs from the existing balance of the HMTF. When combined with the CARES Act, WRDA 2020 provides a total of $3.5 billion to $4 billion in annual spending on port maintenance. Importantly, the bill provides more equitable allocation of harbor maintenance expenditures, while addressing the ongoing needs of the nation’s largest energy-transfer and commercial strategic seaports. The bill also invests additional federal resources for the construction of inland waterway projects, which are often connected to terminals.”
Approval of this bill was part of ILTA’s 2020 legislative priorities, so we are extremely pleased that we were to help get this completed–even if it took Congress until the very last minute.